Newt Officer – South Midlands District Licensing Project (Central Bedfordshire)

NatureSpace Partnership - seconded to Central Bedfordshire Council

Central Bedfordshire
£24,000 pa

Paid • Full Time • Fixed Term Contract Sarah Garratt

Sectors: ecology, conservation & wildlife

Closing date: Friday, 22nd February 2019  

Full time, fixed term contract (initially to May 2020)

This is an exciting opportunity for an early-career graduate to work on a nationally important ground-breaking project, embedded in the public sector but working with and for both the private and NGO sectors to deliver a step-change in the conservation of great crested newts.

Natural England have granted a series of ‘District Licences’ to seven planning authorities in the South Midlands, that allows the planning authorities to authorise (under strictly defined terms) licensed activities at the same time as they grant planning permission. The District Licensing scheme has significant advantages for newt conservation (and which also provides wider biodiversity benefits) through a fully funded region-wide conservation strategy that creates high quality habitat at a landscape scale and delivers long-term management and monitoring for newts. The scheme benefits developers because the licensing process for great crested newts is simplified and streamlined.

The District Licensing scheme has been designed and is administered by NatureSpace (a private sector company), is adopted by the Local Planning Authorities, is regulated and approved by Natural England and is fully supported by the country’s leading amphibian and freshwater NGOs – Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust and the Freshwater Habitats Trust. The habitat creation, management and monitoring are delivered by a not-for-profit Community Benefit Society – the South Midlands Newt Conservation Partnership, which works with landowners and managers to create and manage new ponds and other habitats across the region.

This postholder’s duties will be split 75:25 – delivering the district licensing scheme for Central Bedfordshire Council for 75% of the week and providing more general ecological advice and support for the Ecologist within Central Bedfordshire Council’s planning department for the other 25%.

Employment and location:

The successful candidate will be employed by NatureSpace Partnership and seconded to Central Bedfordshire Council. The postholder will be expected to spend the majority of their time working alongside planning and ecology colleagues in Central Bedfordshire Council’s office in Shefford. The post will be mainly desk based but with some site visits and meetings as required.

Post duration:

At present the post is offered on a fixed term contract to May 2020 but with the expectation of renewal.


The closing date for applications is midnight on 22nd February 2019.

You will be notified by 4th March if you have been selected for interview.

Interviews will be held on 12th March in Central Bedfordshire Council offices.


1. Raise general awareness of the district licensing scheme

a. With developers, agents, planners, consultants, etc. – through LPA webpages, literature, meetings, etc.

b. Within the LPA – to promote the scheme and the conservation strategy amongst staff and Members 

2. Enable good planning decisions

a. Ensure LPA staff are familiar with the district licensing scheme and the processes and protocols

b. Provide specific and general advice to planners on reports, certificates and authorisations under the district licence

c. Help ensure that licence requirements are appropriately translated into planning conditions

d. Help ensure that all developments properly address their ecological impacts

e. Monitor developer compliance with any newt-related planning conditions under the scheme

3. Provide a point of contact for newt-related matters for the LPA to liaise with NatureSpace Partnership, the South Midlands Newt Conservation Partnership and Natural England as required.

4. Ensure relevant LPA staff and Members are informed of the outputs and outcomes of the district licensing scheme, as appropriate

5. Deliver other ecological and biodiversity support to the LPA Ecologist as required.

This role would suit an early-career graduate, perhaps with some environmental consultancy, planning authority or protected species licensing experience, looking to join a small, friendly company that is working with planning authorities and NGOs to deliver better conservation outcomes.

The successful candidate will have:

  1. A degree in ecology or environmental management
  2. Knowledge and understanding of ecological impact assessment and/or biodiversity in planning
  3. A genuine enthusiasm for ecology and conservation in the UK
  4. An organised approach to work, with high levels of independence and motivation
  5. Excellent communication skills – written and verbal, and good administrative skills
  6. A full driving licence with access to a car for business travel.

The successful candidate is likely to have:

  1. Knowledge of European Protected Species legislation, planning and licensing policies
  2. Experience in great crested newt survey and or mitigation practice
  3. Knowledge and experience of the local planning system
  4. Competence in GIS (ideally ARC or QGIS)

To Apply:
Please send a CV and covering letter to Sarah Garratt:

Please mention when responding to this ad.